How to grow African rain daisies

Also known as 'Rain daisies', 'Daisy Bushes' or 'African Daisies' amongst several other common names. the African Rain Daisy - Osteospermum sp. is not just one plant but a huge number of selected cultivars from a range of approximately 85 half-hardy perennials or sub-shrubs native to both southern Africa, and the southwestern Arabian Peninsula.

How to grow African rain daisies
That are an extremely popular garden and park plant, noted for their densely packed brightly coloured blooms, floriferous habit and long flowering season. They are largely pest and disease free, and easy to grow so long as they are not allowed to become too dry at the roots.

Depending on the species, cultivar and growing conditions you can expect African Rain Daisies to reach a height between 10-50 cm. They have a densely mounded habits and can achieve a spread of between 50-100 cm.

Although predominantly grown as annuals in England most specimens are in fact hardy to -2 degrees celsius. This means that in the milder regions of southern England and Ireland even the more tender forms can survive the winter. For those living further north, Osteospermum jucundum and Osteospermum 'Stardust' are considered to be the hardiest of all with reports of them recovering from temperatures down to as low as -15 degrees Celsius!

White Spoon Osteospermum
Be that as it may their sub-tropical origins mean that African Rain Daisies will always perform at their best when given a warm, sunny position, and planted in a rich soil.They will of course tolerate poor soils and even drought conditions but do not expect the same kind of display. Have the root system too dry and they will become difficult to encourage back into bloom. Avoid waterlogged soils as this can cause plants to fail due to root rots.Heavy soils should be improved by adding plenty of coarse grit to the ground prior to planting

Flowering is nutritionally exhausting for African Rain Daisies and so feed with a liquid soluble fertilizer once a week to maintain flowering. While deadheading is not necessary to encourage further flowers (Osteospermums do not set seed easily), removing spent blooms from the base of the flower stem will result in a tidier plant.

Shop bought or seed grown plants should only be planted outside in to their final positions once the threat of late frosts has passed.

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